Market Factors Drive Canada’s Crypto Growth Amid Lawmaker Inaction

Key Takeaways:

Market-driven expansion: Canada’s retail cryptocurrency market is experiencing substantial growth, primarily fuelled by increasing public interest, technological advancements, and rising crypto values, despite minimal regulatory support.

Regulatory ambiguity: Canadian lawmakers’ lack of cohesive and comprehensive regulatory engagement has created a coherent and transparent regulatory environment, posing challenges to the crypto sector’s stability and security.

Future potential: Proactive regulatory measures could enhance consumer protection, attract institutional investors, and foster sustainable growth, positioning Canada as a leader in the global crypto market.

The cryptocurrency market in Canada is experiencing significant growth, primarily driven by market factors rather than proactive engagement from lawmakers. 

A Coinbase executive has highlighted this trend, pointing to the regulatory environment as a key area for potential improvement. On June 18 2024, in Toronto at the Collision conference, the country director for crypto exchange Coinbase in Canada, Lucas Matheson, revealed that Canadian lawmakers need to be more engaged with the industry than other regulatory environments. Matheson said, “Canadian regulators were much more collaborative with the crypto industry than those in the United States.” 

The Coinbase executive suggested that the country needed more political engagement from lawmakers. Matheson added, “[There are] other geographies worldwide where typically police leaders establish long-term strategic plans to incorporate digital assets and technology into their economies.”

The Coinbase Canada director emphasised that they are keen to work with federal politicians and members of parliament to ensure that Canada has a robust regulatory framework. The director suggested that one of the exceptions to this engagement involves the regulation of stablecoins, in which the crypto industry “has worked very closely to advocate with [the] federal government and with regulators.”

Market-Driven Growth

Canada’s retail crypto market has seen remarkable expansion, buoyed by various market dynamics. The general public’s increasing acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrencies significantly contributes to this growth. More Canadians are becoming aware of and interested in digital currencies, viewing them as viable investment opportunities and alternative financial instruments.

The surge in demand for cryptocurrencies has been bolstered by technological advancements and the proliferation of user-friendly platforms that facilitate the buying, selling, and trading digital assets. CEO of Canadian crypto asset platform WonderFi, Dean Skurka, said, “We have certainly seen retail come back. The convergence of the interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada, leading to greater discretionary spending  by the public.”

The global rise in the value of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) has drawn considerable attention, enticing novice and seasoned investors to participate in the market. Skurka added, “It’s not going to happen overnight, but indicators of public receptiveness to crypto are there.” Despite lacking comprehensive regulatory support, the market has adapted by developing a robust infrastructure. Crypto exchanges and service providers have established themselves, offering secure and accessible platforms for Canadians to engage with digital currencies. This organic growth highlights the market’s resilience and adaptability, even in regulatory uncertainty.

Regulatory Landscape and Lawmaker Inaction 

While market factors have driven the growth of crypto in Canada, the regulatory environment needs to be more supportive. According to a Coinbase executive, Canadian lawmakers must be more present in creating a transparent and conductive regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.

This inaction poses challenges and risks for the burgeoning market. Currently, Canada needs a unified regulatory approach to crypto. The regulatory landscape is fragmented, with different provinces and federal agencies taking varied stances on digital currencies. This patchwork of regulations creates ambiguity and can hinder innovation and investment in the sector.

For instance, while certain financial authorities have issued guidelines on anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements for crypto businesses, a comprehensive federal policy that addresses the crypto market’s unique characteristics and needs is needed. This regulatory vacuum can lead to consistency and clarity for companies and investors. The Coinbase executive underscores the need for lawmakers to engage more actively with the crypto industry. By developing clear and supportive regulations, Canada can foster a more stable and attractive environment for crypto innovation and investment, benefiting both the economy and consumers.

Future Implications and Opportunities

Canada’s current crypto market presents both challenges and opportunities. On one hand, the lack of regulatory clarity can pose risks, including potential market volatility and the threat of fraudulent activities. On the other hand, it offers an opportunity for Canada to position itself as a leader in the global crypto landscape by crafting forward-thinking policies. A more engaged approach from lawmakers could enhance consumer protection, promote financial stability, and encourage sustainable growth in the crypto sector. By collaborating with industry stakeholders, regulators can develop policies that balance innovation with security, ensuring that the market operates fairly and transparently.

Proactive regulation could attract more institutional investors to the Canadian market, providing additional liquidity and stability. This influx of capital could further stimulate innovation, developing new financial products and services that benefit consumers and businesses alike. Canada can become a hub for crypto innovation, leveraging its solid financial infrastructure and tech-savvy population.

Realising this potential requires a concerted effort from lawmakers to understand and support the crypto industry’s unique needs. By 2026, Canada is expected to implement the international Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework for taxation.  The regulation would introduce new tax reporting obligations for crypto exchanges and other entities dealing with digital assets.

Fhumulani Lukoto Cryptocurrency Journalist

Fhumulani Lukoto holds a Bachelors Degree in Journalism enabling her to become the writer she is today. Her passion for cryptocurrency and bitcoin started in 2021 when she began producing content in the space. A naturally inquisitive person, she dove head first into all things crypto to gain the huge wealth of knowledge she has today. Based out of Gauteng, South Africa, Fhumulani is a core member of the content team at Coin Insider.

View all posts by Fhumulani Lukoto >

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